Küstendorf Film Festival – Day 4 -Mat Dillon and Men Called Boy

The fourth day of the Küstendorf Film Festival began with Western by Manuel Poirier featured in the Retrospective of Greatness section. On-the-road shoe salesman Paco (Sergi López) picks up Russian hitchhiker Nino (Sacha Bourdo), who steals his car, leaving Paco stranded in the middle of nowhere. He makes the best of the situation by finding love with local girl Marinette (Elisabeth Vitali), with whom he will eventually hit the road for an ill-advised odyssey of sexual conquest.

Drugstore Cowboy by Gus Van Sant, presented in the Kustendorf Presents New Authors, is a film where Matt Dillon plays Bob Hughes, the leader of a clan of drug addicts who, will eventually realize he must part ways with his junkie past. After the screening a Workshop with actor with Matt Dillon discussed the way this film tackled the theme of addiction in a non conventional way, when it was shot in 1989 and set in 1971:


I’m quite proud of this movie. When we started the film with Gus Van Sant, at the time in the United States we had Nancy Reagan, who has started a campaign called ‘Just Say No.’  [An advertising campaign, part of the U.S. “War on Drugs”, prevalent during the 1980s and early 1990s, to discourage children from engaging in illegal recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying no]. So it was the first movie to depict the euphoria of drugs, which I think is important to show the full story, that drug addicts take these substances to escape. This was not a glorification of drugs, these people were not typical junkies, but probably addicted to the adrenaline of stealing. Something I learnt as an actor is that you cannot play a character if you are judgmental towards it. You just have to embrace it. Character logic is very important.


The section Contemporary Trends featured Dogman by Matteo Garrone — a film that up to this first fortnight of January 2019 has gathered an incredible amount of accolades at the Cannes Film Festival, at the European Film Awards, and the Nastri d’Argento. The story about a gentle dog groomer, who becomes involved with a violent boxer who terrorizes the neighborhood, has given a new life to first-time actor Marcello Fonte. He lived his childhood and adolescence in the slums of Reggio Calabria, where at the age of 10 he learned to play the snare drum in the town’s band. He then moved to Rome in 1999, where he worked as guardian at the Teatro Valle. Before being cast by Matteo Garrone, Fonte had played only minor parts, as an extra in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 Gangs of New York and a small role in Alice Rohrwacher’s 2011 Corpo Celeste. For many years he has no been living as an occupant of the Nuovo Cinema Palazzo, in the heart of the San Lorenzo neighborhood in Rome. Garrone met Fonte by accident at a social centre, where he went to spot talent among former prisoners auditioning for parts in a play. Marcello was the caretaker, he was sleeping in the centre and Garrone was very impressed by Fonte when he attended a performance by the prisoners of Rebibbia, where Marcello had taken the place of one of the actors, who had died during the rehearsals for a sudden illness. During his acceptance speech at the European Film Awards, Marcello moved audiences as he said: “When I lived in a shack and I felt the rain fall over the sheets I seemed to hear the applause. Now those applauses are true, it’s you. And I feel the warmth of a family. I feel at home, my family is the cinema .

Today he is greeted by the festival circuit worldwide and Marcello Fonte held a Workshop also in Kustendorf after the screening of Dogman, where he shared his joy for his new life, without disowning his past as a squatter, since his mother gave birth to him in an occupied waste disposal site and still today he lives in an occupied theatre.

The Competition Programme short films kicked off with Manila Is Full Of Men Named Boy by Andrew Stephen Lee, that takes place at the time of Michael Jackson’s televised funeral playing throughout The Philippines, and tells the story of an estranged son who purchases a child to impress his father and values of who is worthier of attention arise. I’ve Got Something For You Too by Iwo Kondefer is the story about a middle-aged woman, who invites a teenager to celebrate her birthday and this will turn out to put her significantly to the test. The Divine Way by Italian filmmaker Ilaria Di Carlo is loosely based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, and shows viewers the protagonist’s epic descent through an endless labyrinth of staircases. All Inclusive by Corina Schwingruber Ilić is an enticing cinematic tale dealing with the magnetism of mass entertainment on the high seas. Autumn Waltz by Ognjen Petković is set in ex-Yugoslavia during the nineties, and tells the story of a married couple that tries to escape a besieged town.

The fourth Day of 2019’s Küstendorf Film and Music Festival came to a close with a joyful concert by Kal — an urban Roma band from one of Belgrade’s suburbs. Their music style was labeled Rock’n’Roma by the Western music critics; which probably best describes their music. Band members include Dragan Ristić (guitar, lead vocal), Aleksandra Veljković (vocal), Dušan Gnjidić (drums), Marko Ćurčić (bass), Rade Arsenović (accordion), Bojan Vasić (violin).